Speed & Conditioning Running: What’s the Difference ?

For those who habitually undertake cardio workouts, there is an obvious difference between strength and conditions workouts. In the case of running, the same difference exists, however in the form of endurance and speed. Because of these differences, unique training methods exist for both. For example, if you hope to work on your speed, steady consistent jogging probably wouldn’t work for you. Likewise, if you hope to improve upon your endurance, short explosive sprints will not help you run for longer periods of time. If you’re looking to improve on either your endurance or speed, understand some of their differences detailed below.

Speed Training

If you want to be fast, you must train fast. However many individuals training their speed make the mistake of treating their speed training much like a conditioning workout. This means running sprint after sprint at submaximal levels with little rest time in between. Speed training, however, requires you to run at top speeds as fast and explosively as possible. Your body then needs to fully recover by resting adequately before the next drill set. Speed training will obviously make your legs stronger, which will, therefore, make you faster. However, speed training will also improve your body’s ability to deliver oxygen into your muscles. In other words, increased oxygen efficiency will allow you to function and perform better with less oxygen required.

Conditioning Training

You condition with the intention of doing two things: building endurance and increasing cardiovascular fitness. Conditioning is the process of running in longer intervals in a set pace in order to improve endurance levels. Today, conventional knowledge on conditioning training is being challenged, challenging the notion that long and steady running is best for building endurance. According to Running Competitor, the logic behind this is the principle of progressive overload, which states performance only improves with added training stress.

Because your muscles eventually cannot receive enough oxygen after long intervals of training, your body switches your muscles from an aerobic (oxygen-based) metabolism, to an anaerobic metabolism (non-oxygen). The buildup of the chemical will slow the muscle’s capacity for work.  According to Live Healthy raising your lactic acid threshold will allow your body to resist training for longer periods of time. Endurance training will improve your overall lactic acid threshold. The higher your lactic acid threshold, the more your body resists when training for longer periods of time.

Of course, before undergoing extraneous physical activities such as speed or conditioning training, make sure warmup and stretch properly. You don’t want to start your exercises with a strained muscle or pulled ligament.

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From managing businesses to rescuing dogs, everything Amy White does is motivated by a passionate desire to make her community a better, more efficient place.